Lightroom: Improve IPTC "Person Shown" Tagging Workflow

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  • Updated 4 years ago
  • (Edited)
Note, on recommondations of others I am reposting this suggestion on this thread. You can also check it on:

The IPTC Extension have a field "Person Shown" which requires manual typing. There are various drawbacks with this:

1) it is very slow

2) it is error prone (typing errors) so pictures cannot be found later on when doing a search

3) it is much harder to enforce tagging conventions

So I propose the following:

a) Create a dictionary of "Person Shown". That dictionary can be dynamically extended by simply entering a new name or (very important) can be locked down so you need to define a new person in the dictionary. This solves problem 2) and 3) above.

b) Add a drag & drop feature. The names in the dictionary are shown in a panel. Now you can select multiple images and then you drag these images on one of the names shown in the panel. This will then automatically add the name to these images. This resolves issue 1)

c) Of course if you added the wrong person to a picture you must be able to remove that person's tag from the picture. You can do this by selecting the image. Each person that is tagged in this image will be highlighted in the list of people in the panel. So you simply go to the panel, right-click on one of these highlighted people and from a context sensitive menu select "remove this person from the picture".

d) Finally, you must be able to quickly search for people. You can do this by simply highlighting a person in the panel that shows the list of persons. If you select multiple then all of them must be in the picture.

The above is pretty much how MediaPro from iView/Microsoft/PhaseOne works. It is a very efficient workflow that has worked very well for me and frankly is the reason why I am not using Lightroom despite the fact that I purchased it (should first have tried it more).

The same, btw, goes for places/cities/events and other such tags. They should have dictionaries. For tags where there is only one selection you should also be able to start typing and it will autocomplete it with entries from the dictionary. Depending on how the dictionary is setup it will only allow tags defined in the dictionary, or allow to automatically add new terms, or allow other terms but not add new items entered (the user can chose one of these three settings)
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rob m

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Posted 8 years ago

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Photo of Babar_e


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Love this idea, I would stop using keyword to add people name.
This is what I do today to avoid typing errors,...

The funny thing is that such dictionnary already exist in lightroom but is not really accessible.
You can see that when you try to type the name of a city for example: autotyping suggest you immediatly all cities you already used for other photos whose first letters match the one you have just typed.

Such Dictionnary could also be hierachical.

For example I should be able to group all the people of a same family under a family name even if that family name will not be used fo tagging purpose.

Same for places but in that case parents keyword can be used for tagging purposes:
I tag a photo with a place and it automatically add the city and region and country.

That would really enhance tagging workflow
Photo of Thomas Geist

Thomas Geist

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VERY good request! The only thing I would like to add to this is that a functionality like this must still keep data in IPTC extended fields 100% compliant.

I.e. give us an fast and easy to use UI to fill and edit these fields in IPTC Extended.
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rob m

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Unfortunately, it looks like LR5 still does not have such functionality. Btw, another good reason to use "People Shown" is that when you have private pictures with names that you need to send somewhere or post somewhere you can quickly remove their names for "security" reasons. You simply reset the tags in "People Shown" without other keywords being affected.
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Ole Michael Mikkelsen

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It seems that the main problem with Person Shown and LR is that LR does not search in the field Person Shown.
Add this to the search list (best if it is a choice to search only that field too) and we have come one step further into a system where we can quickly find pictures of a certain person.
Adobe - do something here!
It is important that LR DO NOT change the IPTC Fields - they have to be fully compliant, not like Fotostation does.
One more thing: Person Shown is to be preferred instead of keywords (tags) because there you can show who is who in the Picture by the order of names (from left to right). Tags are not to be used for names of persons.
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Robert Meier

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Tagging and searching for people is one of the major reasons for me to use an asset management program. Unfortunately, even LR6 totally fails in that category. That's the major reason why I still stick with iView/ExpressionMedia. This program is 10 years behind with the latest technology but at least it gets the asset management part right which is WAY MORE EFFICIENT THAN LR. For instance, in Expression Media you simply drag a selection of images to the person you want to add to the Metadata. Then in the search function you can simply click that or more people to find their pictures.

Unfortunately, Adobe lost its way. Instead of addressing the need of people involved with asset management, they add all these image processing functions.

I also completely agree with Ole's post. I want IPTC compliance. I also agree that the people shown in the picture should go into "People Shown" instead of the regular keywords.
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Yeah, the implementation stinks. I thought Lr was supposed to include the People keywords at least in Person Shown on export, but it doesn't even do that for me. And it should include that info upon writing to metadata, like with virtually all other IPTC metadata. It really stinks.